It is Helsinki’s goal to be one of the most appealing locations in Europe for innovative business activities. The NewCo Accelerator business development and coaching service was set up a year ago to support this goal.
NewCo Accelerator supports start-ups and teams in the incubation and acceleration phases, particularly those that are aiming to enter international markets and have progressed beyond the conceptual development of a product or service. However, personalised coaching is also offered to start-ups that are yet to meet the criteria for actual acceleration coaching. The accelerator’s services are free, and companies can access them at any time. The services are produced in cooperation with Helsinki’s key start-up ecosystem actors.
NewCo Accelerator’s first year has been a success
The first year of the NewCo Accelerator service has lived up to expectations. Both clients and partners have found the service to be necessary and well implemented.
“There has clearly been a huge need in the market for an actor like NewCo Accelerator. Our client numbers have exceeded all expectations,” says City of Helsinki Service Manager Timo Helenius.
Companies participating in the NewCo Accelerator will be supported by a personal, experienced business coach, who will help them with team building, growth and finance, among other things. In the first half of 2021, NewCo Accelerator has served 245 companies or teams, of which 118 are in regular one-to-one coaching.
Of the companies coached, 28 have already started turnover-generating activities. And while the focus has been on early-stage companies and teams, the number of accelerated companies has also exceeded the target. 77 companies have been accelerated.
NewCo Accelerator’s clients have raised €6.4 million in external funding during the coaching period. Over the next year, the total amount of planned funding rounds and funding applications from coaching clients is expected to exceed €10 million.
In addition to providing personal coaching, the NewCo Accelerator business accelerator involves the start-ups in a network that enables them to learn from each other. In the first eight months of the project, an effective cooperation network has been built, creating a close flow of clients between the NewCo Accelerator and other ecosystem actors.
Helsinki start-up ecosystem thrives in international comparison as well
The company-specific, long-term coaching will develop the business skills of start-ups and help them survive in the more challenging post-COVID economy. By turning start-ups into financially viable businesses, the city will also create new jobs and increase tax revenues.
In addition, supporting start-up companies attracts domestic and foreign investment capital, skilled professionals and other start-up companies to Helsinki. NewCo Accelerator also serves foreign start-ups, some of which are considering relocating to Helsinki. Foreign teams and mixed teams of Finnish and foreign members account for around 40% of NewCo Accelerator’s regular coaching clients.
Helsinki has succeeded in creating an internationally attractive ecosystem around start-ups. In the Global Startup Ecosystem 2021 (GSER) report published in September, the Helsinki region was ranked among the top 20 urban regions in the world for emerging start-up ecosystems. GSER report is the most comprehensive and widely read start-up survey in the world.
NewCo Accelerator will continue to support the development of Helsinki’s start-up ecosystem in the future. On average, around 30 new clients start every month and cooperation with the network remains close. Client guidance between services will be further intensified and the flow of clients is expected to continue to grow in the future.
The Newco Accelerator network includes Finnish Business Angel Network (FIBAN), Forum Virium Helsinki, UrbanTech Helsinki, Helsinki Education Hub, Health Incubator Helsinki, Helsinki XR Center, Business Finland, Arctic15 and Slush.
More information about the NewCo Accelerator incubator and accelerator services via this link.
Image: The most visible part of Helsinki’s start-up scene is Slush, the largest annual start-up event in Europe. Image from Slush pop up event at the Kamppi Shopping Centre. (Veeti Hautanen)